I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Released: July 6th 2021
Genre: Young Adult
Series: Six Crimson Cranes #1
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers
“Lim paints a picture easy for any reader to envision in their mind. Also, what story is not made better by the inclusion of a dragon?”~ Under the Covers
Six Crimson Cranes, a fairytale reimagining by Elizabeth Lim that mixes Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Wild Swans” with Chinese folktales and legends is an amazing story filled with magic and the power of family. I absolutely loved how Lim wove together Western story elements with the legends of Asia.
Shiori, the princess of Kiata has magic (something that is taboo in her home country). She’s been able to control it for most of her life but loses control on the day of her betrothal ceremony, angering her father and stepmother. One day, after discovering her stepmother’s secret and that she also has magic, Raikama puts a curse on Shiori and her brothers. Her brothers are transformed into cranes (hence the “six crimson cranes” title). In my opinion, Shiori’s punishment is much worse. For every word or sound that passes Shiori’s lips, one of her brothers will die. Shiori is then banished from the palace, and she has to go on a journey with her loyal magic paper crane Kiki to save her brothers and break the curse (without money, supplies, or the ability to write or make sounds to communicate).
Elizabeth Lim did a great job in making me care about in the characters in this book. I was beyond frustrated for Shiori when she couldn’t speak. Given how easy of a character she is to get behind, I was rooting for her to break the curse the whole time. I thoroughly enjoyed how Shiori and each of her brothers all have very distinct and unique personalities. It would have been very boring if the brothers were cookie-cutter copies of each other. The interactions between Shiori and her brothers were authentic and emotional – I found myself amused and chuckling at the different oldest sibling vs youngest sibling vs middle child interactions. Their interactions reminded me of myself and my sibling. If they weren’t so close to each other, I don’t think I would have bought into the lengths that Shiori goes to save them.
The imagery in this book was one of my favorite parts. I live for books where an author makes me forget that I’m reading and simply whisks me away to the world of their imagination. From descriptions of the effects of magic spells to simple physical characteristics, Lim paints a picture easy for any reader to envision in their mind. Also, what story is not made better by the inclusion of a dragon?
There was no dramatic cliffhanger (thank God – those are always painful), but I’m still very invested in finding out what happens next for Shiori in the second half of the Six Crimson Cranes duology. Overall, I enjoyed every aspect of the book and look forward to more fairytale retellings from Lim in the future.
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